“It’s a kind of folly — a fun, unusual structure that relates in some ways to the home, but isn’t meant to mimic it,” notes Millbrook architect James Crisp of the luxurious Greek Revival pool house he designed for the grounds of a 19th-century farmhouse in Dutchess County. The 1,000-square-foot building combines a dramatic soaring entry complete with chandelier and balcony, big casement windows in the rear that open to the view, a changing area, a kitchenette, two bathrooms, and a sleeping loft that can serve as guest quarters. “There’s also a pretty sophisticated sound system, with speakers hidden behind grilles and around the pool — the sound is amazing,” says Crisp.
The view beyond the infinity pool hogs much of the attention at this Garrison residence, but the streamlined stuccoed pool house is worth a look, too. Postmodern with Scandinavian influences, the building has high ceilings and packs a lot into its trim 900 square feet — a living room and kitchenette, a shower (through which you can enter if you’re really dripping) and a full bathroom, as well as two bedrooms and a basement. Perched on a cliff and full of light (thanks to the glass sliders on either side), it feels almost like a tree house, say guests who stay there.
If building materials could speak, those used in architect Anthony DiGuiseppe’s Ulster County pool house would have some tales to tell. “The stones for the walls and the fireplace were all taken from the property,” he says. “The beams, which we got from the wood salvage yard in Pine Plains, were from the Navy Pier in Baltimore — they were underwater for 50 years. The light fixtures are zinc, French, from the 1930s. The doors were from the courtyard of the Chateau d’Ife, the old prison where the Count of Monte Cristo was held.” The Count was fiction, but the prison not so, and the doors are quite lovely, given their origins. In fact, it was the doors that determined the height of the building, says DiGuiseppe. “It’s essentially a 16-foot box with a pyramidal roof — and the shingles are about the only thing that’s new.” They match the roof of his 1700s stone house, as does the pointing. “The pool house was designed as a modern interpretation of the old house,” says the architect.